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France heads for 2nd virus lockdown as infections soar

France heads for 2nd virus lockdown as infections soar
Non-essential businesses to be closed, all academic institutes to remain open, announces President Macron

By Cindi Cook

PARIS (AA) - France will enter a second coronavirus lockdown from Friday midnight, the country’s president announced on Wednesday.

The national lockdown will remain in place at least until Dec. 1, Emmanuel Macron said in a televised address to the nation.

The announcement came as France reported 36,437 more COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the overall count to over 1.23 million (1,235,132).

The death toll grew by 244 to reach 35,785, while hospitalizations stand at 15,177, with 2,145 patients under intensive care.

In a 20-minute speech, Macron outlined the restrictions being imposed on various industries and sectors.

Academic institutes, from nursery to university level, will remain open, albeit with stricter health protocols.

All non-essential businesses, including bars and restaurants, will be closed across the country.

Visits to nursing and retirement homes will not be prohibited, according to the president.

The lockdown will affect mainland France but not its overseas territories.

The new measures still have to be approved by lawmakers, who will be briefed by Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday.

Castex is scheduled hold a news conference on Thursday evening to give more details about the lockdown.

The stricter confinement measures are part of France’s attempts to prevent hospitals from being overloaded.

As it stands, nearly 50% of intensive care units throughout the country are currently occupied, according to official data.

source: News Feed
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